There’s a lot to consider once you achieve management status. Not only are you thinking about staying under budget and coordinating schedules, but also developing talent and managing personalities. It can be stressful, and if you’ve never been in a management position before, the learning curve is steep—there’s a lot at risk, but it will save you a lot of time and energy if you can learn lessons from the mistakes of others. Here’s what experienced managers wished they knew when they first attained their management roles.
Get acquainted early
Earn the trust and respect of your staff when you’re friendly with them and you treat them as peers instead of your subordinates. Get to know them on a personal level and inquire about their professional aspirations. Casual conversations make people feel more at ease and they help create stronger bonds.
But be the boss
Ultimately, though, you must remember that you’re the boss, not a friend. Your role is to partner with your staff to help them succeed, working towards your goals as a team. The relationship should be professional, built on mutual respect and trust.
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Be consistent and fair
If you want your employees to trust and respect you, you need to treat them fairly, holding each person’s work to the same set of standards. Your team needs to know where they stand and what you expect from them, so they can do their best to deliver. Your criteria for bonuses and promotions, as well as your decision-making process should be transparent. Be honest and explain your rationale.
Set clear goals together
Continuing to be transparent, make sure you’re helping your employees to clearly set goals. This will keep them focused, give you a means by which to evaluate them, and help define what success looks like for each role. Good goals should be specific, achievable, and measurable. The best goals are ones that you set together with your team. If they have a say in what they’re working towards, they’ll be more engaged, work harder, and be more loyal to their job and the company.
Don’t prove yourself
You don’t need to have all the answers, it’s okay to admit when you don’t know something. You can seek advice from your colleagues or consult someone above you to find solutions and explore new ideas.
For more tips and advice, check out our podcasts featuring interviews with local leaders.
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